Listening Diary for June 6-12, 2022

Master fiddlers are one of my favorite things in this world and Natalie MacMaster 🇨🇦 is one of the greatest. I love the energy in her playing; so much light and joy there. Her 2019 album Sketches was just the right soundtrack for a leisurly walk in the sunny and warm Finnish Saturday. I've never … Continue reading Listening Diary for June 6-12, 2022

A Somewhat Belated Album Review / Gráinne Brady: Newcomer

(Since I’m not a music professional, I sometimes - quite often, really - miss a noteworthy release and wake up to it much later. This is one of those cases. The text below is written almost six months after the album’s release) Glasgow-based Irish composer-fiddler Gráinne Brady’s exceptional debut album The Road Across The Hills … Continue reading A Somewhat Belated Album Review / Gráinne Brady: Newcomer

Album Review / Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas: Syzygy

I had the great pleasure of experiencing Alasdair and Natalie live a few years ago when they played a couple of gigs in Finland. It was a charming event, with Alasdair’s stories, their musical chemistry and, of course, amazing playing. That set leaned pretty much toward trad and Celtic but that has never been the … Continue reading Album Review / Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas: Syzygy

Album Review / Rowan Leslie: Escaping the Dawn

One thing that keeps astonishing me about the Celtic music scene is the way it produces brilliant young musicians who refresh and vitalize the culture. Some do it by expanding and experimenting and stretching the limits of the music, while others own the old traditions and recharge them as if they invented them. Young Irish … Continue reading Album Review / Rowan Leslie: Escaping the Dawn

Album Review / Lauren MacColl: Landskein

A long time ago, in a land far, far away... That's how it feels when I remember a day this past winter, just over half a year ago. Me and my wife were in Glasgow for our second Celtic Connections and we had managed to get tickets to Lauren MacColl's solo recital at the City … Continue reading Album Review / Lauren MacColl: Landskein

Album Review / Sam Sweeney: Unearth Repeat

Wood. Living, rough, hewn, shaped into houses, burned for warmth we need. People and their stories; villages and towns and other places they live in. People whose language I don’t always speak but we understand each other anyway. Those are the feelings and mental images I get from British fiddler Sam Sweeney’s new album Unearth … Continue reading Album Review / Sam Sweeney: Unearth Repeat

Album Review / David Foley & Jack Smedley: Time To Fly

It does not take much but it takes everything. It takes a fiddle and a flute and some other instruments and a few good people with good hands and a lot of soul. RURA's David Foley and Jack Smedley have released their first non-RURA outing, Time To Fly, an album of such natural flow, natural … Continue reading Album Review / David Foley & Jack Smedley: Time To Fly

Better-late-than-never Reviews 2×2: Grey & Peach, Macfarlane & Henderson

2x2 = two albums, both with two musicians and lots of the deceptively simple beauty I love in this music. I wasn’t properly awake when these were released earlier this year but, again, better late… The mesmerizing Air Iomall (On the Edge) by Charlie Grey & Joseph Peach is paired with a film of the … Continue reading Better-late-than-never Reviews 2×2: Grey & Peach, Macfarlane & Henderson

Album Review / RANT: The Portage

"A stark, honest recording." That's how the core quality of RANT’s third outing is described on RANT's Bandcamp site. It may be a slightly surprising choice of words for music that's very controlled, touching on modern classical in some places, played by a quartet of Scotland's finest (Bethany Reid, Anna Massie, Jenna Reid and Lauren … Continue reading Album Review / RANT: The Portage

Album Review / Martin Hayes & Brooklyn Rider: The Butterfly

I like my malt whisky straight. Very rarely I go for even a drop of water and never, never ice. So, naturally, I approached the new album by Irish master fiddler Martin Hayes with some skepticism. He plays here with the Brooklyn Rider String Quartet, one of the foremost in their field in the USA, … Continue reading Album Review / Martin Hayes & Brooklyn Rider: The Butterfly